Seventy eight years ago on Friday, February 26th, a lonesome dark horse was born in Kingsland, Arkansas. Johnny Cash was born, being one of seven children belonging to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. The family survived while harvesting cotton on the farm. The way of life and surroundings soon became stories with songs written by Cash.
Cash was best known for hit songs, including "Folsom Prison Blues," "Cry, Cry Cry," and his first number one double platinum single, "I Walk the Line." He was married to Vivian Liberto but after they divorced, he soon married June Carter. Their love both on and off the stage blossomed into many hit duets. They would become a power couple in country music.
However, turning to the dark side of life, Johnny Cash would submerge himself in narcotics and alcohol while spiraling down a cycle. With Carter by his side, he would begin to clean up his act and image, having a new purpose to live.
In 1980, he was the youngest living member inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame at the age of 40. He would later join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Enter Rick Rubin into the picture. The frail Cash poured out his soul on several recordings with Rubin producing the albums. "American Recordings", released in 1994, won a Grammy for best contemporary folk album. The follow-up, "Unchained", received a Grammy for best country album in 1997. His 2000 release "American III: Solitary Man" was released and Cash won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance for "Solitary Man." He would release the Nine Inch Nails single, "Hurt," which included the sorrowful video depicting the fragile Cash and what his life has become. The song would earn him several awards both in country and rock fields. The legendary performer has sold over 90 million records and continues to sell them with each new generation being introduced to the music of Cash.
In 2003, not long after his wife June passed away, he followed her in death. However, with the recordings of Rick Rubin with his sessions with Cash, his memory lives on. His album, "American VI: Ain't No Grave" was released this week with haunting tracks that makes you feel that Cash is among us singing from the other side. The final chapter of the last recordings provide a sense of a haunting closure to the man who many thought could live forever.
In honor of Johnny Cash's 78th birthday on Friday, February 2, 2010, the Cash Family, Rick Rubin, and Lost Highway Records have proclaimed it "Wear Black for Johnny Day." Fans of Cash are encouraged to wear all black in honor of the memory of the man who has impacted music of many genres. Photos of the day can be posted on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the Facebook group, "Johnny Cash's 78th Birthday."
The Fender Museum in Corona, California, will be holding a special birthday bash in honor of Johnny Cash on Friday from 11AM-10PM. Friends and associates of Cash, as well as performances, memorabilia viewing, and more will be happening on that day.
It would be fitting in with the new technology of today, Apple would announce that the 10 Billionth song purchased on I-tunes would be “Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash, was purchased by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia.
There ain't a grave that can hold the memory of the Man in Black down.